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Saturday, December 20, 2014

How to Lift Your Way Out of Back Pain

Sorry to burst your bubble, but no one cares how much you can lift.  In fact, they’ll probably judge you for trying to lift more without having the right technique. One of the most common gym injuries happens because people bite off more than they can chew. If you’re experiencing back pain after working out, it may be because you’re lifting too much weight.

But how do you know when the weight is ‘too’ much? Simple: You look at your form.

How to Know When to Lift More or Less

There’s no point in heavy lifting if all you’re doing is hurting your back. In fact, heavy lifting coupled with bad form won’t only keep you from getting stronger, it can cause serious injury. Before you start trying to figure out how much weight you should be lifting, it’s important that you first have the proper technique down.

Lifting weight that’s too heavy often means you’re sacrificing form. But lifting weight that’s too light means you’re barely working your muscle groups. Think of it like this:

Too Heavy

- increases your risk of injury
- makes it easier for your body to cheat, thereby robbing you of the proper ‘pump’
- reduces your time under tension because you’re simply ‘powering through’ the workout instead of taking the time to do an adequate, full rep
- less able to focus on your form because your focus is more on being able to lift the weight

Too Light

- halts your progress by not effectively working your muscles
- form may be better, but you’re not effectively breaking down your muscles to the point where you could grow stronger. Instead, you’re just lifting a light bar up and down
- may tone muscle, but isn’t properly exerting them
Contrary to what some health professionals may say, recent studies have shown that lifting lighter weights does INDEED help build muscle. In a study conducted by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, participants who lifted significantly lighter amounts of weight were found to gain muscle equality as those who power lifted. The main reason? Because they were able to full reps—not just the halfway up, halfway down power rep.

Avoiding Back Pain While Strengthening Your Back

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Vitamin D: How Does It Impacts Exercise And Athletes?

Vitamin D is one of those vitamins that almost everybody lacks in some way. Primarily obtained through exposure to sunlight rather than in food sources, it can be difficult to make sure you're getting enough. This is particularly important for athletes – or indeed, anyone who exercises! Let's run through what Vitamin D actually does, and how these effects can benefit you.

One of the major things Vitamin D is responsible for is helping our bodies absorb calcium. Most people are aware that calcium helps with bone growth and strength, but this isn't all it does. It helps regulate muscle contractions – in particular, your heartbeat, and it's vital for the process of blood clotting. 

All three of these benefits are vital to athletes. Having strong bones is important – after all, you want to reduce your risk of injury as much as possible. Regulating the heart-beat in particular will come in handy for those endurance runs! In addition, keeping your blood clotting regularly is useful for recovering from any injuries you may have. Often, when people see this they consider upping their calcium intake but this is less effective than upping your Vitamin D intake. After all, no matter how much calcium you have going in, it won't be beneficial if your body can't absorb it.

Another major benefit to vitamin D is the way it reduces inflammation. There's a substance known as “cytokines”, which can be either pro or anti-inflammatory. Vitamin D encourages the body's production of anti-inflammatory cytokines, whilst reducing the amount of pro-inflammatory cytokines. This means that you'll have less issue with inflammation, reducing the recovery time between workouts – a vital part of building a useful exercise routine.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Are Protein Shakes For Me?

Eaten enough chicken and eggs to last you a lifetime? If you’re pumping iron hard but not seeing the results, then it’s probably time to consider using protein shakes. There is a massive range of varieties on the market to choose from, so we’ll talk you through the basics.

Why Protein Shakes?

Protein shakes are one of the most effective ways to build up muscle without piling on unwanted pounds in other areas. Here’s the science bit: protein is the only macro-nutrient – as opposed to carbohydrates and fat - that actually builds and repairs muscle tissue instead of breaking down muscles for energy. So it is exactly what you need to turn those reps into pecs.

Can’t I just eat more protein?

Yes, if you have the time and inclination, but protein shakes offer a faster, nutritious alternative and can also be more cost effective than a shopping basket full of chicken. They can also stop you filling up on high protein foods which contain a load of fats and carbohydrates, such as soy, eggs and nuts.

Which should I go for?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Fennel Rosemary Roast Pork Tenderloin (Thanksgiving Recipe)

This recipe is on page 266 of the NEW Cookbook: Skinnylicious Cooking. You can see all the amazing recipes at this link.

- Prep Time: 15 Minutes 
- Cook Time: 20 Minutes 
- Total Time: 35 Minutes
- Servings: 2-4


- 1 pork tenderloin
- 1-2 tablespoons Rosemary Fennel Rub (see page 104 for recipe)
- Butcher twine
- Oil (to coat pan)


1. Preheat oven to 425 F
2. Trim off extra fat or silver skin from tenderloin. Fold the thinner end under itself to make equal thickness. Tie using butcher twine.
3. Roll the tenderloin in the rub. Coat evenly. Add salt & pepper to taste.
4. Heat skillet with oil
5. Sear the tenderloin for 1-2 minutes on each side to create a golden crust. Transfer to a foil lined baking sheet and place in oven for 15 minutes.

Per Serving: 190 calories, 7g fat, 1g carbs, 34g protein

Note: Recipe from the new Cookbook: Skinnylicious Cooking.

You can mix the steak up with other rubs from the cookbook and it works just as well. Try this for Thanksgiving and see how people respond.  You may be shocked because healthy recipes don't have to be bland or boring. They can be as tasty as eating out at a restaurant! I bet some of the family won't even know it's good for them :)

If you like this recipe, you will LOVE the other recipes! They are mouth watering and guilt free. Why? Because they are made with ingredients that are loaded with benefits for your body. Try the recipes in the cookbook to see the pounds fall off and feel great:

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What You Need to Know About Fat Burners

A fat burner is a supplement that aids in weight loss by initiating several actions that result in rapid metabolism of fat in the body. Fat burners are especially helpful for persons who have tried everything to lose weight but failed. What is most surprising about them is that their action takes place not only as you exercise, but while you rest or sleep.

How Do Fat Burners Work?

There are many types of fat burning supplements out there, and they have one or more of these proprieties: 

Fat and Carbohydrate Blocking

It’s never easy for most people to steer clear of some of their favorite high-calorie foods. It is due to this that some fat burners are laced with ingredients that block the absorption of carbohydrates and fats by your digestive system. These unwanted food groups are then safely assembled and expelled from your body.

Increased Metabolism

Your body’s metabolic rate determine how fast or slow it burns calories. When you take a fat burner, this rate is significantly increased thereby resulting in rapid weight loss. Take note that metabolic rates slow down as you age, meaning that it becomes more difficult to shed fat as the years go by.

Heightened Energy Levels

An increase in metabolic rate spurs an increase in energy levels. The thermogenic stimulants contained in some fat burners heighten your energy. When your body is filled with vigor, you have what it takes to carry out physical activities that facilitate weight loss.

Appetite Suppression

Hunger pangs and cravings for certain foods are some of the greatest challenges that people face when they try to shed weight. Fat burners on the other hand signal your brain that you are not hungry. Your calorie intake is as a result suppressed since your food intake is lowered considerably.

Brain and Mood Boosts